LOS ANGELES — The World Series is back at Dodger Stadium for the first time in 29 years, and the scope of it all is a little intimidating.
The playoffs always have larger-than-normal media coverage, but in the Division Series there are four different series so the national writers are more spread out. Then it’s down to two for for the LCS, but now the World Series is the only thing going, so everyone is here.
It is a sight to behold, with the Dugout Club transformed for a day into a media center, where players on both teams — even some who won’t be on the World Series rosters — sat at various tables and fielded questions from the gaggle of reporters on site at Dodger Stadium. And not just baseball reporters. The TV show Extra had someone asking players a list of things like their celebrity crush and favorite movie, and Jimmy Kimmel’s dad was around asking things as well.
Here are some highlights from media day:
Corey Seager said “all the boxes are checked off” regarding his return, as he recovers from a back sprain.
“Every progression has gone smoothly, there have been no setbacks,” Seager said.
Seager took batting practice and got in some simulated at-bats on Monday against Brock Seager, and took ground balls at shortstop as well. He expects to start at shortstop on Tuesday in Game 1, but nothing has been announced just yet.
“It’s not my job to make the lineup,” Seager said. “It’s my job to be ready to do whatever they need me to do.”
With the designated hitter available for potentially three games in Houston, Seager might be kept from the field when the Dodgers are on the road. That makes it extremely likely that Charlie Culberson makes the World Series roster, as another option to play shortstop, in addition to Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez, if needed.
“To have Charlie Culberson and other guys that can play short, if something does go out on us, we're definitely cognizant of that,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To have the DH potential, because I think from the training staff, [Seager] swinging the bat really doesn't pose a problem, it's more of the bending over.”
The Dodgers might only make one change to their roster for the Fall Classic — adding Seager — so it’s just a matter of who gets the boot, with the likeliest candidates Kyle Farmer, Curtis Granderson or Joc Pederson.
The Astros don’t have many hitters weak against left-handers — not as many lefty hitters as if the Yankees had won the ALCS, for instance — so Luis Avilan likely won’t be added as a third southpaw in the bullpen. He did saw his shoulder felt fine, and was able to stay loose pitching on the side during the NLCS.
“My chance was in the NLCS, but then Seager got hurt so we had to add two guys,” Avilan said. “But right now, I’m trying to enjoy it. You never know when it’s going to be your last time in the World Series.”
Whether he is on the roster or not, Avilan will be introduced during pregame ceremonies before Game 1, always one of the coolest parts of postseason baseball. He loves the moment.
“You imagine you’ll be there and you dream about it, but when you are actually able to do it, it’s like you’re flying between the dugout and the line,” he said.
Keep it simple
Clayton Kershaw starts Game 1 for the Dodgers, and was asked what he enjoyed most about pitching on the biggest stage.
“Winning. Yeah, winning is the best part of that,” Kershaw said. “I'm going to try to do that tomorrow.”
Question of the day II
With temperatures expected to reach triple digits on Tuesday, Astros starter Dallas Keuchel was asked if he would consider shaving his beard because of the heat.
“If it's hot enough for four wins, I'll shave it, for sure,” Keuchel said. “It's going to be hotter than normal, but at the same time I like tosweat, I like to get that perspiration, and make sure I have a firm grip on the ball.”
After Keuchel and Justin Verlander pitch the first two games, the Astros will most likely turn to Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers for Games 3 and 4, in some order. Though nothing has been finalized just yet.
“Obviously Morton is going to start one of those. It's very likely that McCullers starts the other,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “I need to gather and get the order done and see how Game 1 and 2 goes.”
Dodger Stadium is offering a number of different food options during the World Series, including something called a “Blue Heaven Ice Cream Donut Sandwich.” This tweet is the first of a thread with several other food specials:
Something called the blue heaven ice cream donut sandwich will be available during the World Series at Dodger Stadium. pic.twitter.com/R7fq1e0LYu— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) October 24, 2017
Now I’m ready for the World Series.